In a beautiful outdoor evening setting al fresco in LA, we joined a group of women gathered for a monthly Lovely Dinners party. Hosted by Ragan Brooks and Molly Schoneveld, we all were seated at Molly's gorgeous out-of-a-magazine table setting with fresh flowers, linens, and warm welcoming color everywhere. Lovely Dinners creates an opportunity for women to sit down and talk about their online presence, goals, and motivations amongst new faces, all while enjoying a spectacular meal. Ragan (www.beautyinthebite.com) created a menu filled with beauty and flavor, paired with our fresh tequila cocktail made with Revel Tequila blanco. Beth Navarro helped end the evening on a sweet note with divine balsamic black pepper strawberry shortcakes, and Pamela Salzman presented homemade granola packaged in mason jars as we said our goodbyes. It was wonderful to meet Ragan, Molly, Beth, Pamela, Christine, and Veronica, and we're looking forward to seeing what Lovely Dinner comes up with next month!
Recreate the evening by making all the recipes we enjoyed:
COCKTAIL: "Revel Sunset"
1 oz Revel Tequila blanco 1 oz pineapple juice 1.5 oz orange juice 1 oz cinnamon clove simple syrup 1 large lemon peel twisted and dropped into the drink
DINNER: Roasted Muscato Grape Chicken with Fresh Tarragon BY: Beauty In The Bite
Ingredients: 5 skin-on, boneless organic chicken breasts 2 tablespoons organic butter Olive oil 1 package Melissa's Produce Muscato Grapes (any color) 1 bunch fresh tarragon 4 cloves garlic 1 cup white wine 1 white onion 1-2 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
Wash and dry the grapes. Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast at 350 for about 45 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Brown chicken breasts in butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place in a baking dish. Reserve butter and oil from chicken and toss in chopped garlic, sliced white onion and about 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon. Cook slowly until fragrant and translucent, adding more olive oil if it gets too dry. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol a bit. Add the chicken stock. Once this cooks down a bit, adjust the liquid levels by adding more stock if you need more sauce. Now, you can add your roasted grapes to the mix. Cook another minute or two then pour mixture over browned chicken breasts. Cover and set-aside until 30 minutes prior to mealtime. When your guest arrive and are having their first course, you can pop the chicken in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes to finish cooking the chicken through. Remove from oven and slice each breast in half to create portion sizes. Plate on a large platter & top with fresh tarragon for family style serving and an impressive presentation! Serves 10.
Stuffed Delicata Squash 5 Melissa's Produce Delicata Squash 1 red onion 1 package crimini mushrooms 1 bunch baby kale 1/2 Kombucha squash 1 cup Parmesan cheese 1 cup chopped raw, unsalted almonds 3 tablespoons Ghee
Wash the delicata squash and it halve lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halved delicata on a parchment lined cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Roast at 350 for about 30 minutes, until soft and a fork goes in easily.
Meanwhile, slice the red onion and caramelize it by warming a tablespoon of ghee and adding a dash of olive oil to a pan. The trick here is to cook it low and slow until the caramelizing takes place. Make sure it's well moistened by adding more ghee if necessary. Meanwhile, peel and chop the Kombucha into tiny 1/4" squares. Once onions are nicely caramelized, remove to a mixing bowl. Now, adding a glug of olive oil to the pan, sauté the kombusha until soft and lightly browned. Remove to the mixing bowl with the onions. Next, sauté the cleaned crimini mushrooms and add them to the bowl as well. Lastly, finely chop the baby kale leaves and sauté with a lit more ghee or olive oil, as you choose. Add kale the bowl and mix everything well.
Place spoonfuls of the vegetable mixture inside the cavity of each delicata squash. Top with shredded Parmesan and chopped almonds. Cover and bake to warm (about 15 minutes) before serving. Serves 10.
Fall Greens with Pomegranate Vinaigrette 2 packages raw Brussels sprouts 2 packages of kale sprouts 2 fennel bulbs 2 packages pomegranate seeds Rose Vinegar Agave nectar grape seed oil Micro greens for topping Salt & pepper
Blanch kale sprouts and soak in ice bath to stop the cooking process and maintain the green color. Shave the brussel sprouts through a mandolin or food processor. Finely slice the fennel. Add all the greens to a large bowl.
For vinaigrette, add one package pomegranate seeds to the bowl of a food processor, about 1/4 cup grape seed oil, 4-5 tablespoons rose vinegar, 2 tablespoons agave nectar, pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Whizz until smooth and very liquid. Taste test and add more oil, agave, salt or vinegar to your liking. Mix again and then pour through a sieve into a bowl, removing all the seed remnants and creating a velvety, softly sweet salad dressing. Pour over greens and let sit for 30 minutes or so to soak up the flavors. Top salad with more pomegranate seeds and a handful of micro greens.
DESSERT Basalmic Black Pepper Strawberry Shortcakes BY: Beth Navarro
Biscuits 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 5 tbsp sugar 2 1/2 tsp baking power 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 cup chilled heavy whipping crew 1 large egg, beaten Balsamic strawberries (recipe below) whipped cream: 1 cup of heavy whipping creamed beaten until stiff peaks with 2 tbsp of sugar
Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 425 Line baking sheet with parchment paper Place flour, 4 tbsp of sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor. Using on.off turns, pulse to blend Add butter and pulse until butter resembles large peas, about 5 1-second intervals. Add cream and pulse another five 1-second intervals until moist clumps form. The dough will not completely stick together.
Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Gather dough into a ball. Do not overwork it. Using as few strokes at possible ,roll ito a 8 X 4 inch rectangle about 1 1/4 inch thick. Cut length wise in half the crosswise into four equal strips. forming 8 square/rectangle biscuits. Transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet and chill for 20 minutes.
Brush top of biscuits with egg glaze and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and tester comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. Serve with strawberries and whipped cream!
Balsamic strawberries 2 pounds of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered. 5 tbsp sugar 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 large pinch of fresh ground black pepper
Mix strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar and black pepper in a medium blow. Let macerate for 30 minutes and stir occasionally.
GRANOLA BY: Pamela Salzman
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)* 1/2 cup unsweetened, dried coconut flakes 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds 1/3 raw sunflower seeds 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional; sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt 1/4 cup melted unrefined coconut oil 1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup raw almonds (in California, you can buy truly raw almonds if purchased directly from the farmer, in the stores it may say “raw,” but they have likely been pasteurized or steamed) or walnuts or pecans or a combo 1 cup unsweetened, unsulphured dried fruit, chopped if necessary
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- In a large bowl stir together the oats, coconut flakes, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup and vanilla. It is really important to mix the oil and syrups so that everything is well blended otherwise the syrups may burn. Add the oil and syrup mixture to the oats and stir to coat well.
- Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes (ovens vary), stirring occasionally until golden brown. The mixture will not be crunchy yet. Add the chopped nuts and dried fruit to the pan and allow to cool. Transfer granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature or freeze. makes about 6 cups
*If you use gluten-free oats, you will have a gluten-free granola.